Holy Thursday, Saint Justin Martyr and History

Thursday, April 13, AD 2017

justinmartyr4

Now, Justin concludes, since Christianity is the historical and personal manifestation of the Logos in his totality, it follows that “whatever things were rightly said among all men are the property of us Christians” (Second Apology of St Justin Martyr, 13: 4).

Pope Benedict XVI, March 21, 2007

 

 

On Holy Thursday we commemorate the first Mass, the first miracle of the Eucharist.  None of us having been there, how do we know it occurred?  Faith of course, but faith buttressed by the knowledge that our Faith is supported by historical facts.  We know when Christ lived.  At each Mass we remember that He suffered under Pontius Pilate which allows us to date the Crucifixion and the Last Supper to plus or minus a few years.  We know when Caiaphas was High Priest.  Judaea, the province in which Christ lived, was not some make-believe land but a province of the Roman Empire and we know much about it at the time of Christ.  Above all, we have the Gospels and the Epistles of Saint Paul, documents written while those who saw and heard Christ still lived.

This of course was only the start of the historical record of Catholicism, the Universal Church.  Each generation produced new writers who give us precious facts of the journey through history of the Faith of Christ.  One of the most important of the early writers about the Church is Saint Justin Martyr.

Justin Martyr was born in Flavia Neapolis, ancient Shechem,  modern day Nablus, in Judaea circa 100 AD.  He was brought up a pagan.  Having enough money to pursue the study of philosophy, he encountered the teachings of Christ, after a long and methodical search for the true philosophy, and became a convert.  Having found the true philosophy, he traveled around the Roman Empire, spreading it, garbed in his philosopher’s gown.  Eventually he settled in Rome.  He wrote eight treatises defending Christianity.  His best known work is his First Apology which he addressed to the Roman Emperor Antonius Pius, one of the best of the emperors, who reigned from 138-161 AD.  This Apology was a plea for the Emperor to stop persecuting the Christians.  In this Apology he gives us many details as to how Catholics worshiped in Rome during the middle of the Second Century.   His description of the Eucharist is a treasure for all Catholics as we attend Holy Thursday Mass today.

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5 Responses to Holy Thursday, Saint Justin Martyr and History

Messianic Prophecies: Genesis 3: 15

Sunday, December 4, AD 2016

 

Continuing our Advent look at Messianic prophecies for this year, a series which we began in Advent 2011 and continued in 2102, 2013, 2014 and 2015, the earlier posts of the series may be read here, here, here ,here, here, here, here, here , here here, here, here, here , here, here, here , here,   here, here here, here, here ,  here,  and here, we come to Genesis 3: 15, the first messianic prophecy in the Bible:

[15] I will put enmities between thee and the woman, and thy seed and her seed: she shall crush thy head, and thou shalt lie in wait for her heel.

 

 

Saint Justin Martyr says of this passage:

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3 Responses to Messianic Prophecies: Genesis 3: 15

My Wife, Pope Urban IV, Saint Thomas Aquinas and Saint Justin Martyr

Sunday, June 22, AD 2014

When Corpus Christi rolls around I always think of Saint Thomas Aquinas and his great eucharistic hymn Pange Lingua Gloriosi Corporis Mysterium written by Saint Thomas at the command of Pope Urban IV to celebrate the feast of Corpus Christi instituted by the Pope in 1263.   It says something vastly significant about the Church that perhaps the greatest intellect of all time, Saint Thomas Aquinas, was not only a Doctor of the Church, but also capable of writing this magnificent hymn. 

The last portion of the hymn, Tantum Ergo, has vast significance for my family.  My wife, who is a far better Catholic in my estimation than I am, is a convert.  A Methodist when we married, she converted to the Church a few years later.  She had questions regarding the real presence, and this line from Tantum Ergo resolved them:  Faith tells us that Christ is present,  When our human senses fail.  When our kids came along she would whisper at the Consecration to them:  First it’s bread, now it’s Jesus.  First it’s wine, now it’s Jesus. 

I also think on Corpus Christi of Saint Justin Martyr:

Justin Martyr was born in Flavia Neapolis, ancient Shechem,  modern day Nablus, in Judaea circa 100 AD.  He was brought up a pagan.  Having enough money to pursue the study of philosophy, he encountered the teachings of Christ, after a long and methodical search for the true philosophy, and became a convert.  Having found the true philosophy, he traveled around the Roman Empire, spreading it, garbed in his philosopher’s gown.  Eventually he settled in Rome.  He wrote eight treatises defending Christianity.  His best known work is his First Apology which he addressed to the Roman Emperor Antonius Pius, one of the best of the emperors, who reigned from 138-161 AD.  This Apology was a plea for the Emperor to stop persecuting the Christians.  In this Apology he gives us many details as to how Catholics worshiped in Rome during the middle of the Second Century.   His description of the Eucharist is a treasure for all Catholics on Corpus Christi:

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5 Responses to My Wife, Pope Urban IV, Saint Thomas Aquinas and Saint Justin Martyr

  • FEAST of CORPUS CHRISTI – THE BODY and BLOOD of CHRIST.
    On 22nd. June we celebrate the Feast of Corpus Christi – the Body and Blood of Christ, in solemn commemoration of the institution of the Holy Eucharist. As with many of the great feats of the Church, there is a fascinating history associated with the establishment of this holy day, and has a connection to saints and miraculous events.
    God’s instrument on this occasion was a Belgian woman born in 1191 known as St. Juliana of Liege, or St. Juliana of Mt. Cornillon, – the location of an Augustinian convent where she was educated as a girl from the age of five, along with her sister Agnes, after the death of their parents. She was later accepted into the order, made her religious profession there, and eventually became the superior of the convent.
    Juliana had an ardent love for Our Lady, and also cultivated an extraordinary devotion to the Blessed Sacrament, and as she grew in her vocation, longed for a special feast in honour of the Sacrament. It is said that this desire was increased by a vision of the Church under the appearance of the full moon with a black mark across it, signifying the absence of such a feast. Juliana expressed her desire to the bishop of Liege, and the Arch-deacon of Liege who was later to become Pope Urban IV. Both men received the suggestion favourably. In 1246 the Bishop, at a synod of Bishops from the Belgian dioceses, instituted a feast in honour of the Blessed Eucharist in their own dioceses. In later years, the Arch-deacon of Liege, Jacques Pantaleon, was consecrated as Bishop of Verdun, and then on 29th. August 1261, became Pope Urban IV – three years after the death of Juliana, who, as is common with many saints, suffered persecutions from her own order and some clerics.
    Two years later, in a seemingly unrelated event, occurred one of the great Eucharistic miracles of the Church, known as the Eucharistic Miracle of Bolsena-Orvietto, and approaching in amazement the extraordinary Eucharistic Miracle of Lanciano five centuries before. In 1263 a German priest known only as Peter of Prague stopped at the place called Bolsena whilst making a pilgrimage to Rome. He was known as a pious priest, but personally found difficulty in believing that Christ was Truly and Substantially Present in the Consecrated Host. While celebrating Mass in the church of St.Christina, he had barely spoken the words of consecration, when blood started to seep from the Consecrated Host and trickle down over his hands and onto the altar cloths.
    In total confusion he at first attempted to hide the blood, but as there was such a profusion, he then interrupted the Mass and asked to be taken to the close by city of Orvietto where Pope Urban IV was residing. The Pope listened to the priest’s account, and after absolving him, ordered that the Consecrated Host along with the altar cloths bearing the stains of the Blood of Christ be transported to the Cathedral at Orvietto. Bishops and Cardinals and other dignitaries formed a procession, and with great pomp and dignity the Host and the other relics were installed in the cathedral, where the linen corporal bearing the stains of the blood are reverently enshrined and exhibited, to this day.
    Pope Urban IV was so prompted by this miracle, and at the urgings of the Bishop of Liege, commissioned St. Thomas Aquinas – who happened to be with him – to compose a Proper of the Mass and an Office in honour of the Blessed Eucharist, and one year after the miracle on August 1264 instituted by Papal Bull the Feast of Corpus Christi to be celebrated throughout the entire Chu

  • I prepared this little gem for my RCIA class back in 2004. 🙂

  • Don the Kiwi: Great read. Good work.
    .
    “and with great pomp and dignity” might better convey the spirit with “great Solemnity” …just a suggestion.

  • I love this quote from Justin Martyr, Don. I was recently in one of those online conversations with an atheist who was saying that the Gospels etc. were late inventions. I’ll have to remember this quote for the next such discussion.

  • That is just beautiful. Thank you!

Messianic Prophecies: Zechariah 12: 10

Monday, December 9, AD 2013

 

 

Continuing our Advent look at Messianic prophecies for this year, which we began in Advent 2011 and continued last year, the earlier posts of the series may be read here, here, here ,here, here, here, here, here , here here, here and here, we come to Zechariah 12: 10:

 

10. And I will pour out upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace, and of prayers: and they shall look upon me, whom they have pierced: and they shall mourn for him as one mourneth for an only son, and they shall grieve over him, as the manner is to grieve for the death of the firstborn.

Saint Justin Martyr views this as a prophecy of the Second Coming of Christ:

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2 Responses to Messianic Prophecies: Zechariah 12: 10

WJBA? In 2010 Would Jesus (Along With His Apostles & Saints) Be Arrested For Hate Speech?

Wednesday, August 4, AD 2010

A few short years ago the mere suggestion that the Son of God, His Apostles and Saints would face arrest for hate speech would have seemed absolutely ludicrous. However, events have spiraled out of control across the western world. In his opinion that strikes down California’s recently voter approved marriage law, Judge Vaughn Walker wrote that those who speak in the name of religion to put across their views that same sex marriage is wrong are “harmful to gays and lesbians.”

Across Europe and Canada, faithful Christians speaking out for traditional marriage face the threat of being hauled off to court for citing the teachings of the Catholic Church and various Evangelical Churches. Where will this all end? Some see a great persecution coming against the Christian faithful. Though possible, one need remember that the Christian faith always grew when persecuted.

The Catholic Church has long taught that some individuals have an inclination toward same sex attraction; they are to be loved as all people are to be loved. The Church teaches that these feelings are not to be acted upon. The Church goes on to teach that all individuals are given a cross to carry in this world and for those who are same sex attracted; this is their cross. An organization exists for those who are same sex attracted called COURAGE. It has many chapters and members.

Recently a profile was done in The New York Times on same sex attracted Eve Tushnet, the Ivy League educated Catholic daughter of Harvard Law professors. She has chronicled her growth in Catholicism and the logic of the Church’s teachings on sexuality. For years the Catholic Church took some heat from some quarters of Christianity for not stating that anyone who is same sex attracted would be going to hell. The Church now is facing a maelstrom of vitriol from those who claim the Church hates homosexuals.

For the Church to change her teachings would be to deny not only what Christ said (Matthew 11:20-24,) but his Apostles, not to mention Saint Paul’s lengthy discourse on the subject (Romans 1:26-28, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10.)  In addition to the Apostles and saints, there is a rich history of saints writing on the subject, particularly the Early Church Fathers like Saint Augustine, St Justin Martyr, St. Basil and St John Chrysostom as well as Church intellectuals like St Thomas Aquinas, Saint Albert the Great (the greatest scientist of his time,) along with mystics like St Catherine of Sienna to name but a few. To say that the greatest minds of their respective eras were all wrong is simply breathtaking.

Many who disagree with the Church tend to forget that homosexuality was much more common and approved of by the Roman government in the early Christian era than it is even in 2010. Many in the upper echelons of Greek and Roman culture experimented with all sorts of sexual practices. It would have been far easier for Jesus, the apostles, saints and popes to approve of this conduct than it would to disapprove of it. Christianity might have grown at a faster pace. However, there was a reason for this swimming against the tide, and the faithful accepted it.

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4 Responses to WJBA? In 2010 Would Jesus (Along With His Apostles & Saints) Be Arrested For Hate Speech?

  • Great column as usual, Dave. It just blows my mind that our nation is no longer a republic of, for and by the people but an elite and arrogant oligarchy that is unleashing one perverted social experiment after another on us.

    The far left have the nerve to needle the conservatives for wanting to have less government yet have government restrict marriage. Quite the contrary, we want to be able to decide how our society should function, not have the government do so.

    It’s a shame that the voters in my state of California were robbed once again, but we can still hope for the Supreme Court to save the day. In the meantime, this should serve as a wakeup call for the voters, especially those in the 45 states who have kept marriage to one man and one woman, to vote the radicals out in the fall and make sure the Democrats never control government again as long as the militant secularists who are ruining this nation continue to call the shots for the party.

  • This is almost a grand slam!

    This is government hate speech against, and injurious to, Christians, Jews and Muslims.

    Oh, that’s okay!?

    Never mind.

    Thanks for voting for them dems.

  • Prepare for the worst. There is little doubt that in the near future Christians will be arrested and imprisoned by the American Socialist State if they continue to preach the gospel and traditional morality. The American politicians have created their long desired Atheistic State which will have no tolerance for believers. Prepare for the dark days of persecution but the good news is that it will separate the wheat from the shaff and the sheep from the goats.

  • But Jesus and the Apostles were arrested and even put to death for their speech.

    When DeGaulle was reproached for not taking more care against assassination, he replied: “It comes with the job”.

Saint Justin Martyr and Holy Thursday

Thursday, April 1, AD 2010

On Holy Thursday we commemorate the first Mass, the first miracle of the Eucharist.  None of us having been there, how do we know it occurred?  Faith of course, but faith buttressed by the knowledge that our Faith is supported by historical facts.  We know when Christ lived.  At each Mass we remember that He suffered under Pontius Pilate which allows us to date the Crucifixion and the Last Supper to plus or minus a few years.  We know when Caiaphas was High Priest.  Judaea, the province in which Christ lived, was not some make-believe land but a province of the Roman Empire and we know much about it at the time of Christ.  Above all, we have the Gospels and the Epistles of Saint Paul, documents written while those who saw and heard Christ still lived. 

This of course was only the start of the historical record of Catholicism, the Universal Church.  Each generation produced new writers who give us precious facts of the journey through history of the Faith of Christ.  One of the most important of the early writers about the Church is Saint Justin Martyr.

Justin Martyr was born in Flavia Neapolis, ancient Shechem,  modern day Nablus, in Judaea circa 100 AD.  He was brought up a pagan.  Having enough money to pursue the study of philosophy, he encountered the teachings of Christ, after a long and methodical search for the true philosophy, and became a convert.  Having found the true philosophy, he traveled around the Roman Empire, spreading it, garbed in his philosopher’s gown.  Eventually he settled in Rome.  He wrote eight treatises defending Christianity.  His best known work is his First Apology which he addressed to the Roman Emperor Antonius Pius, one of the best of the emperors, who reigned from 138-161 AD.  This Apology was a plea for the Emperor to stop persecuting the Christians.  In this Apology he gives us many details as to how Catholics worshiped in Rome during the middle of the Second Century.   His description of the Eucharist is a treasure for all Catholics as we attend Holy Thursday Mass today.

Continue reading...

4 Responses to Saint Justin Martyr and Holy Thursday

  • “As Catholics in the Twenty-First Century we are part of a long process of the keeping of the truth handed to the Apostles by Christ on that Thursday night so long ago.”

    Thank you for this post and, in particular, this sentence. It evokes a feeling I had while converting to Catholicism: I felt moved by the fact that this rite was being practiced every day around the world in unbroken succession from that time. Holy Thursday has always been one of my favorite days (nights) on the liturgical calendar for many reasons, this among them.

  • Great article Don.

    I have used that quote from Justin Martyr for a number of years in RCIA classes. It gives candidates a real perspective of the depth of history of the Church, and assists authenticity.
    I also like Clements description of the hierarchy – around 94 AD.
    Jus love the Early Church Fathers.

  • Thank you Don. Justin Martyr reminds us that when people speak of the early Church, whether they realize it or not, they are talking about the Catholic Church.

    J. Christian, Holy Thursday has always moved me too. Just got back from Mass where we sang Tantum Ergo. The Catholic Church we see today is such a small portion of the Catholic Church throughout the ages and in eternity.

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